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Reader Email: Can I Print Coupons in Black and White?

We actually get this question a lot… Kerry asks:

I am just starting to coupon, and I am wondering if I can print coupons in black and white or if they have to be in color for stores to accept them? Thanks!

The simple answer is YES! you can print in black and white. Here is what your stores should look for in a legitimate printable coupon:

Expiration Date: Let’s play fair and not use expired coupons! :)
Scannable Barcode: Nothing frazzles a checker more than a coupon that won’t scan!
Retailer Insntructions: a legitimate coupon will always have instructions for the store to follow to get reimbursed.
Unique Barcode: If you are using more than one of the same coupon, they should be checking the barcode to make sure it’s not a copy !

Your checker should absolutely NOT be turning your coupon away just because it’s in black and white. You may find it helpful to print this letter issued from Smartsource addressed to retailers who won’t accept their coupons. This letter should help explain to your checker or manager what to look for – and what legitimate coupons look it. It even says Black and White coupons are acceptable!

I print my coupons in GRAYSCALE and they scan perfect. Here are the instructions I use to turn my printer to gray scale:

1. Go to Control Panel
2. Click on Printers and Faxes
3. Select which printer you want to adjust
4. Highlight the “Printer” Tab at the Top and Select “Printing Preferences”
5. Click on the tab “Print Quality” Then select “Fast Draft”
6. Now, go to the “Color” Tab and Check the box that says “Gray Scale” and “Black Print Cartridge Only”

Thanks for the email Kerry!

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39 thoughts on “Reader Email: Can I Print Coupons in Black and White?”

  1. Kelly says:

    thanks so much.
    At the grocery store yesterday they accused me of frauding them because my printer ran out of color ink and so the picture on the left was faded but the rest of it was fine. Carrying this with me all the time now.

  2. Matt, yes, a dude. says:

    Consider buying a budget laser printer if you print lots of IP’s. they can usually be had for less than $175 and the toners last a 20x longer than ink cartridges and they never dry up.

    I use a laser and tell the clerks that when they try to tell me about needing color coupons, generally they just stop talking and start scanning

  3. J says:

    To the ladies complaining about CVS not accepting black and white copies – CVS does have a corporate coupon policy, It doesn’t say anything about black and white – just that the barcode must scan. I would definitely contact corporate and complain – specifically about the store in question. The District Manager should follow up with that store and at least come up with a conclusion – hopefully it will be in your favor!

  4. Great post! I get asked the same question. I rarely have trouble with the B & W coupons. Before Target changed its coupons you had to print them in color in my area, but now B & W is accepted just fine.

  5. Susan says:

    Krazy ladies, did you make a change to your website with regards to how the comments are appearing? They look very nice and are easy to read now. In the past the individual lines would appear in separate boxes, and sometimes they would be overlapped, making them hard to read, although I could usually make out the general jist of the comment. Now they look awesome!

    Whatever you did, thank you! If you did nothing and it’s just my computer that was funky, then disregard this message. :-)

    SusanB

    • Alisa says:

      No, I could never read the comments clearly because every line was in a separate, yet overlapping box. Now they read beautifully! Thanks KCL Ladies!

  6. Susan says:

    To the posters who mentioned the obnoxious ink-wasting ads that print after a coupon … what I do is watch the printer and hit “cancel” as soon as the coupon prints.

    The paper will then spit out without the ad, or maybe with a half-inch or so of print if I wasn’t quick enough.

    Then I turn the paper upside down and backwards to print the second copy on the back, and do the same thing. This way I get two coupons and no ads on one piece of paper. You could print on the same side of the paper, but I’m always afraid I’ll get distracted and not hit “cancel” soon enough and print an ad over the top of my previously printed coupon and ruin it.

    SusanB

  7. coupon king says:

    Thanks for the post! Very informative. I do have a question. We are typically allowed 2 prints, and coupons usually have a unique “bar code” or “pin”. However, often the bar code or pin is the same on both coupons, so the grocer will only accept one! I guess it appears photocopied to the grocer. Anyone else notice this?

  8. rattriffic says:

    each coupon source is different like smart source prints a pin if you have 8 of the same coupon ( from diff printers) there will be a defferent pin for every one this is very basic any checker should know this there are also water marks that show in black and white also just as a added safety feature and for coupons from places like coupons.com there is a squiggled square with numbers and the numbers will be deifferent or sources that don’t have either of those will have a different # for the bar code….its pretty easy to proove you didnt copy it when there is one digit different on each one!! know your facts so you can argue ( nicely) your point…..if a store like walgreens makes it too difficult to shop with coupons that they get the $ back for then I will take my business to coupon friendly stores like albertsons, my albies treats me like a “special” customer and I am always in a fab mood when leaving there!! anti coupon stores suck!!

  9. genese says:

    I love that i can print in black and white… this will totally save me on buying color ink.
    I also hate the ads that occasionally print. So if I am only printing one coupon at a time i normally watch to make sure that the coupon has fully printed and before it can start to print the ad I press cancel on my printer (as my printer actullly has a cancel button on it). this has saved me so much… Then turn the page around and use it to print another coupon so that I don’t waste paper. Hope that helps!!

  10. rene says:

    Try this to save on ink money,
    When the printer tells you that your ink cartridge is running low, take the ink cartridge out and move it gently from side to side, then put it back. This will redistribute the last of the ink and help you get more prints. Try repeating the process more than one time.

  11. erin says:

    I printed my windex coupons and for some reason there is no expiry date on them and no number code under the barcode. nobody will accept them and comp says i printed the max. so strange!

  12. Nellie says:

    I have a Mac. Does anyone know how to print in B/W on a Mac? I cannot figure it out. On my PC I followed the instructions and it works perfect but can’t get it to work on my Mac. I would love it someone could help. Thanks!

    • Brittany says:

      nellie-

      i have a mac and what worked for me was to go to “file” then “print” and then select “plain paper, fast draft, black & white” from the presets drop-down menu, which is the 2nd box down. when i did that, it has saved it and printed everything in b&w. hope that helps. let me know if it doesn’t.

  13. Georgiann says:

    A manager at the the Walgreen’s at Meridian Rd. & Overland told me they no longer accept b/w coupons. Very frustrating.

    • Joe says:

      had the same experience at this store. I called the corporate office and logged a complaint. But Walgreens does not have a corporate coupon policy and it is up to the managers what they want to accept. I asked to be called back by the manager but have never received a call. I guess i was not important enough. Later that day another store gladly took them. If you ask me everyone needs to boycot that store until they want to play by the rules. They are giving Walgreens a bad name. In my short couponing career i think they have been one of the best in helping get the best deal.

  14. weddingdress says:

    Now if we can just figure out how to disable the obnoxious coupons that print an ad underneath.. I hate that!

  15. Rachel says:

    I can’t beLIEVE there are stores out there refusing to accept b&w coupons!!!! I hate buying colored ink because it goes so much faster and costs so much more. First off, if you print in grayscale, it DOES print the watermark, at least on my computers. Second, if you have more than one b&w IP for the same item and the cashier raises an eyebrow, they can simply check the number printed by the barcode on each one – the codes are unique, they won’t match if they’re legitimate. And third … really, stores don’t think people could copy in color if they really wanted to? REALLY? I am shaking my head in wonder right now …

    Thanks for letting me vent, ladies. :)

    • Debbie says:

      mine prints the watermark too. this new position that the stores are taking probably won’t “hold up,” but it will be very annoying fighting the good fight until it is all sorted out. it may be worth contacting corporate now to get a response and having it ready. this is silliness, but if it wasn’t for those abusing the system, it would be a moot issue. we all pay for dishonesty.

  16. tracie says:

    I have the same issue Debbie. Hope someone can help

    • Debbie says:

      i actually figured it out tracie, but let me see if can explain it. i clicked on control panel and all of that. then, i clicked on the printer that is my default printer. once i did that, a small window popped up. i clicked on “printer” and then “properties.” once i was on “properties,” i clicked on “advanced.” at the bottom of the “advanced” window, there is a tab for “printing defaults.” when i clicked on that, i saw that all of the changes i had made for b/w, etc. were not saved on this particular window, so i changed it and saved it in this window and it seems to be working. i hope this works for you and helps! it was bumming out that i was using color ink to print hundreds of coupons. let me know if you have any quesitons.

    • Debbie says:

      i actually figured it out tracie, but let me see if can explain it. i clicked on control panel and all of that. then, i clicked on the printer that is my default printer. once i did that, a small window popped up. i clicked on “printer” and then “properties.” once i was on “properties,” i clicked on “advanced.” at the bottom of the “advanced” window, there is a tab for “printing defaults.” when i clicked on that, i saw that all of the changes i had made for b/w, etc. were not saved on this particular window, so i changed it and saved it in this window and it seems to be working. i hope this works for you and helps! it was bumming out that i was using color ink to print hundreds of coupons. let me know if you have any questions.

  17. Janet says:

    Now if we can just figure out how to disable the obnoxious coupons that print an ad underneath.. I hate that!

    • Neva says:

      Seriously … I hate those big ads. If I catch it in time, I just push the cancel button on my printer and it stops the print job before the whole ad shows up.

  18. Debbie says:

    i have changed my settings for my printer, and it prints in b/w for pdf files, etc…..but if i’m at coupons.com and it sends it straight to the printer without me actually hitting “print,” it still prints in color. can someone tell me if they also have this problem, and if i’ve missed something?

  19. Calleen says:

    Thanks, having just scored a great deal on a bunch of black ink I was wanting to print in B&W so this was very helpful.

  20. Catherine says:

    Just yesterday my Safeway checker informed me they no longer accept b&w coupons. They also won’t take more than 2 IP coupons per product (even if they are different coupons.) So frustrating!

    • Annette says:

      Catherine- my Safeway recently adopted this same policy. One cashier told me only 2 IP total. I told her that’s not what I’ve been told and could she check because I was told 2 per product. She checked and found that she was wrong. But it’s still frustrating, I find them less coupon friendly every time I go in. My Target on the other hand has yet to refuse a coupon I’ve handed over, they’re amazing!

  21. CJ says:

    Coupons can be photocopied in color as well as B&W, so I dont know why it matters to stores which we use. Petsmart accused me of copying coupons last week because I had 3 color printables and 2 B&W printables for the same items. To me my B&W coupons looked more real than the color ones, which were all faded and not cut out very well. They all scanned fine and had different bar codes.

  22. sandra says:

    I don’t get the copying arguement- I have a color copier! At any rate- my local Target just stopped accepting B/W coupons…Grr.

  23. Brittany says:

    I struggled with this today as well. I have 2 Walgreens in my town. One wouldn’t accept my B&W coupons and said they haven’t been accepting them for almost 2 weeks. But I called the other store and they said they still accepted all B&W coupons. How come it varies from store to store even in the same chain?

  24. Myia says:

    I have only had problems one time with a newer (typically very coupon friendly) Walgreens. I was told that they no longer accepted the B&W because you can’t really see the watermark. I then went to an older (less coupon friendly I might add) Walgreens and they were more than happy to take it and said that they had never heard that they couldn’t accept B&W coupons.

  25. Julia says:

    My local CVS does not accept black and white coupons anymore whatsoever. They say they’ve been handed one too many fraudulent i.e. copied coupons they did not get reimbursed for by the manufacturer. I was also told this policy will be reinforced at CVS nationwide soon.

    • Roxanne says:

      I would call corporate to confirm this. I’ve seen too many checkers or even managers make up policy to back-up what coupons they don’t want to take.

  26. Annette says:

    I’ve had cashiers struggle with the black and white coupon because it looks like a photocopy to them. I have one computer that was set for color and my laptop was set to print in black and white. So when I hand over the B&W ones, I’ve had them questioned. I just simply told them it’s not a photocopy, one of my computers prints in color, one in B&W. I explained that you’re allowed two prints per computer. They accepted them, but since then I stopped printing in B&W because I don’t like any potential problems. Instead, I have my printer set to “Quick Print” which uses much less ink. I’ve never had any problems with them scanning either.

  27. Alisa says:

    Funny you should post this. Just yesterday I was hassled at Target because I was using two identical coupons, one printed in color, and the other printed in black and white. The checker actually tried to refuse the black and white coupon, accusing me of photocopying the color coupon. I had no idea how to explain that I had not done that but now, thanks to this post, I do. Thanks!

  28. Alissa H. says:

    Thanks! I was wondering the same thing

  29. Julie says:

    Thanks, this was very helpful!